The Lottery Quiz

“The Lottery” Quiz

  1. Were you surprised by the ending of the story? If not, at what point did you know what was going to happen? How does Jackson start to foreshadow the ending in paragraph 2 and 3? Conversely, how does Jackson lull us into thinking that this is just an ordinary story with an ordinary town?

Ans: Yes, I was surprised by the end of the story. Jackson start to foreshadow the ending in paragraph 2 and 3 when she mention the splinting of the black box on one side only or the kids piling up the rocks at the start of the story.

  1. Where does the story take place? In what way does the setting affect the story? Does it make you more or less likely to anticipate the ending?

Ans: The story take place in a town square. The setting affect the story as the author describes the familiar trappings of a small town, the bank, and the grocery store. She uses symbols or imagery that is familiar so as to create effect for the story. No, because as the story moves forward and the towns people move closer to declaring a “winner,” it is not only the setting that works to effectively distract the reader from the gruesome ending but, it is also the superficial conversations between the town’s people.

  1. In what ways are the characters differentiated from one another? Looking back at the story, can you see why Tessie Hutchinson is singled out as the “winner”?

Ans: The characters depicted within the Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” are differentiated from each other through their names and actions. Every character in the text is given a name, none are left unnamed. Outside of that, all of the characters brought up are spoken about very specifically regarding their behavior. Tessie Hutchinson is singled out as the “winner” because she protested against the tradition of the lottery by saying “it isn’t fair.” As she protested, everyone even her own husband and three children joined in stoning her to death.

  1. What are some examples of irony in this story? For example, why might the title, “The Lottery,” or the opening description in paragraph one, be considered ironic?

Ans: The irony in the story is the name itself “The Lottery.” Winning the lottery turned out to be a bad thing. It could be considered ironic because the winner gets stoned to death. We usually think of lottery winners as getting desirable prices. The “setting” is ironic-it is a sunny day of summer. Summer days are supposed to be bright, happy and fun, but Tessie Hutchinson dies which is not a bright or happy day.

  1. Jackson gives interesting names to a number of her characters. Explain the possible allusions, irony or symbolism of some of these:

. Delacroix: translates to “of the cross” which could be linked to sacrifice. The townsfolk use sacrifice to keep their town going. Based on the story, we find striking that Mrs. Delacroix is the only person who speaks to the otherwise silent Mrs. Graves, wife of the even more silent postmaster. In retrospect, Mrs. Delacroix’s friendly relationship with the Graves family foreshadows her willingness to kill Tessie Hutchinson with a smile on her face. The lottery appear natural to her, so much so that it does not strike her as a contradiction to chat happily with Tessie one minute and attack her the next.

. Graves: This is kind of obvious. People dies, the town prospers.

. Summers: The sacrifice is made in the summer so the fall crops will be good.

. Bentham: He was an English philosopher who argued against slavery and the death penalty.

. Hutchinson: Mrs. Tessie Hutchinson was the protagonist of the lottery. Her name was an allusion of Anne Hutchinson. She was isolated and set apart by the crowd despite her unfair trial.

. Warner: This is also obvious- warning that things are questionable or that you may die to save the town you have chosen to stay in.

. Martin: Mr. Martin was the man together with the oldest son who held the black box securely on the stool until Mr. Summer had stirred the paper securely with his hand. He was the owner of the grocery store whom sometimes help to preserve the black box on the shelf in his store against the next lottery season.

  1. Take a close look at Jackson’s description of the black wooden box (paragraph 5) and of the black spot on the fatal slip of paper (paragraph 72). What do this objects suggest to you? Why is the black box described as “battered”? Are there any other symbols in the story?

Ans: The black wooden box suggest the old tradition and the black spot on the fatal slip suggest winning the lottery and the consequences accompanying it which is death. The black wooden box being described as “battered” signified that the traditions justification is fading too. Yes, there other symbols in the story such as “the three legged stool,” the “stoning” which is one of the oldest form of execution and way of exploring violence and unmerciful traditions seen in the culture for capital punishment of any abomination, and “the lottery” itself.

  1. What do you understand by the writer’s own attitude toward the lottery and the stoning? Exactly what in the story makes her attitude clear to us?

Ans: The writer’s attitude at the beginning was cheerful, bright and colorful. By her attitude, she is trying to proof a point that as people read the story, they would be disgusted, and then realize that they can just be like the people in the story.

  1. This story satirizes a number of social issues, including the reluctance of people to reject outdated traditions, ideas, rules, laws, and practices. What kinds of traditions, practices, laws, etc. might “The Lottery” represent?
  2. Ans: The lottery represents our culture’s most destructive, longstanding and unquestioned practice- our civilizational experiment fueled by totalitarian agriculture, and everything that come along with it.
  1. This story was published in 1948, just after World War II. What other cultural or historical events, attitudes, institutions, or rituals might Jackson be satirizing in this story?

Ans: The most important ritual being made fun of here is the very old idea that there should be some kind of sacrifice made to ensure a good harvest. “Lottery in June, come be heavy soon, “says old Man Warner. Also, there is the whole question of whether or not tradition should be continued even when they seem hostile, violent, or ridiculous.

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